HANNIBAL — Girl Scouts from Troop 9197 officially unveiled their Little Free Library near the large shelter in Riverview Park on Monday evening, smiling as they watched their team effort come together to promote reading in the community.
The service project began when Troop Leader Julie Viehmann and Co-Leader Amy See worked with the group of 16 Girl Scouts to discuss a service learning project with lasting effects throughout the community. For their “Take Action” badges, the Scouts from first through fourth grade at Oakwood Elementary School wanted to do something more than donate a box of books to a local organization — Viehmann said the Scouts have partnered with Little Free Libraries to ensure the new library stays stocked with books for years to come.
Shawn Janes, father of troop member Heidi Janes, built the bright protective frame with his daughter. She prepared a speech to talk about how she assisted as he used a CNC machine to form the shapes to make the house, and he used a special printing technique to blend the rainbow of colors on the walls of the library.
Heidi shared the process with her fellow Scouts before cutting the ribbon for the new library. Viehmann said she approached the Hannibal Parks and Recreation marketing supervisor about the idea, and she was enthusiastic about the project. The Girl Scouts agreed the location near the large shelter and playground was ideal for children to get the chance to read.
Parents as teachers donated 40 books, and the Scouts rushed to grab armfuls of books from the picnic table to stock the new library with stories “The Infamous Ratsos,” “Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party” and “Let it Fall.” Viehmann said the project’s culmination reflected a valuable lesson for the Scouts about how their actions make a positive impact in their community.
“The goal is to show the girls that small acts of service can make big differences,” Viehmann said.
The troop members are: Ainsley Viehmann, Landry Viehmann, Quinn Locke, Lydia See, Thea See, Heidi Janes, Brenleigh Locke, Gwyn Dorsey, Bella Treaster, Finley Kildow, Macy Woodside, Payton Barlow, Ila Judlowe, Hazel Judlowe, Elyse Bates and Robin Lang.
As they played on the playground and examined their new library, the Girl Scouts looked forward to seeing how their efforts would promote reading.
“Some people who don’t have books, they can come to the Little Library and read some books. It will be good to read in the park because it is relaxing,” Heidi said.
Ainsley is excited about the chance for other children to get to enjoy new books, like her favorite animal book.
“It really has a lot of animals, and me and my mom think a lot of kids will like it because it has pretty pictures,” Ainsley said.
Quinn said she is “looking forward to checking out scary books” as Halloween approaches. “Dear Austin: Letters from the Underground Railroad” is one of her favorite books because it almost made her cry as she read the story of a girl her age who was born into slavery and taken from her mother.
“It’s a really special book,” Quinn said.
Robin said she enjoys math and ELA classes in school, and she is looking forward to sharing her enthusiasm with fellow youth in the community through the new Little Free Library.
“I like to read, so I thought that it would be a good idea to do this, and that’s why I like it,” Robin said.